Parlez-vous anglais?

Provence & Côte d’Azur: France falls to last place in Europe:

Europe as whole may be moving towards better English language proficiency, but France is on an entirely different trajectory, says Education First. The latest figures from the international education organisation have revealed a trend of steadily declining skills in English among the French, with countries such as China, Russia and neighbour Italy moving ahead of the population when it comes to the anglophone mother tongue.

Education First’s 2013 report blamed cultural and educational factors for France’s poor rating

Over the last 12 months, Education First has complied information on 60 countries worldwide. Interviewing some 750,000 adults and matching the data with statistics from the previous five years, the study highlights the evolution of English language proficiency through balancing up the impact of English among national workforces and economic outlook.

France has come a lowly 35th place, with neighbouring nations Belgium (13th), Germany (14th), Switzerland (16th), Spain (23rd) and Italy (32nd) surpassing the country in terms of English language abilities.

The French nation was given a ‘low proficiency’ marker and a 50.53 score, dropping 2.63 points on the figures from 2012. Education First says, “While the rest of Europe is already proficient in English or steadily working towards that goal, France is on an entirely different trajectory. France currently has the weakest English skills in Europe.”

The study, released on 5th November, has pointed the finger at a range cultural and education related factors, saying, “In France, English is still often seen as a threat to French.” Low exposure to English in the media and the school system were both blamed by the study and its respondents.

Elsewhere in the report, eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Slovenia have witnessed a surge in English language proficiency over the last year, with all three making it into the top 10.

Turkey saw the biggest improvement, but remained in the lower echelons of territories included in the study (41th). An additional seven nations joined the ranking table in the 2013 report: Estonia (4th), Slovenia (10th), Latvia (15th), Ukraine (27th), Sri Lanka (30th), Jordan (50th), and Iraq (60th).

Source/Credit: Elsa Carpenter for The Riviera Times


7 thoughts on “Parlez-vous anglais?

  1. Alistair Syme says:

    Does that mean there are opportunities for English language teachers in France and for English as a Foreign Language teachers?
    I have actually noticed that more French people seem to be ready and willing to speak English in recent times, to the extent that having taken French classes I have had bizarre conversations with me speaking French to a French person resolutely replying in English!

  2. Yes, this has happened to me, as well, although I continue to speak in French and the other person eventually switches back to French. The TEFL job market is most likely saturated, but there are opportunities for experienced teachers with diplomas.

  3. cteachr says:

    Enjoyed this post. Had to share with my French teacher friends.

  4. Je parle un petit peu. . .. At least, I think that’s how it’s said/written. 🙂

    It’s been several years since I’ve been to France, but while there noticed that my attempts at speaking French were sometimes met with smiles and answers in English! 🙂

  5. Actually, LOL, now that I’ve read the question correctly, I guess the answer should be, “Oui, je parle anglais.”

    Guess I need more coffee. Cheers!

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